Fractal Design Define R2 XL Chassis Review

/ 6 years ago

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I feel very lucky today, not only do I get the chance to play around with a Fractal Design chassis, but one of their flagship designs at that. Here, I have the Define XL R2 Black Pearl, a chassis that may just look like any other from the pictures, but when standing alongside one, it’s fairly clear that this is something a little special.

With standing dimensions of 322 x 637 x 655, the R2 XL lives up to its “extra-large” implying title, it tall, wide, very long and imposing. Put simply, its big. However, with great dimensions comes a great weight too, and with a bulk of 16.5KG before you’ve installed so much as a SATA cable its likely you need take extra care when lifting the chassis.

Fractal Design have already built them selves a rock solid reputation for outstanding design, build quality, performance and they’ve even won several awards from eTeknix over the last couple of years, so I am keen to see just what the XL R2 has to offer beyond it being heavy.

As you can see from the specifications below there is a good reason for the chassis size, with support for tiny M-ATX and M-ITX motherboards, all the way up to and including XL-ATX, 9 expansion slots, deep PSUs and more.


  • ATX, Micro ATX, mini-ITX, E-ATX and XL-ATX motherboard compatibility
  • 4 – 5.25″ bays
  • 8 – 3.5″ HDD trays – all compatible with SSDs
  • A total of 9 expansion slots
  • 3 – ModuVent™ plates – two in the top and one in the side
  • 7 – Fan positions (3 fans included)
  • Filtered fan slots in front and bottom
  • CPU coolers up to 170 mm tall (when no fan is installed in the side panel)
  • PSU compatibility: ATX PSUs up to 190 mm deep when using the bottom fan location; when not using this fan location longer PSUs (up to 345 mm deep) can be used 
  • Graphics card compatibility: Graphics cards up to 330mm in length with the top HDD cage installed – With the top cage removed, graphics cards up to 480mm in length may be installed
  • 26 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
  • Thick rubber grommets on all holes on the motherboard plate
  • Colors available: Black Pearl, Titanium Grey
  • Case dimensions (WxHxD): 232 x 559 x 560mm
  • Net weight: 16.4kg
  • Package dimensions (WxHxD): 322 x 637 x 655mm
  • Package weight: 19kg

Cooling system

  • Front: 1 – hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included); 1 – 120/140mm fan (not included)
  • Rear: 1 – hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included)
  • Top: 2 – 120/140mm fans (not included) – positions also support 240/280mm slim radiators
  • Bottom: 1 – hydraulic bearing 140mm Silent Series R2 fan, 1000 RPM speed (included)
  • Side: 1 – 140mm fan (not included)
  • Fan controller: 1 – integrated fan controller for up to 3 fans (included)
  • Water cooling compatibility:
    • Front – 240mm radiator when HDD cages are removed or repositioned
    • Top – 240 and 280mm when using slim radiators
    • Bottom – 120mm radiators
    • Rear – 120 and 140mm radiators

The XL R2 came bundled with the usual user’s manual as well as a neat little box with all the regular screws, bolts, cable ties, etc, required to install your components.


The chassis comes packaged in a fairly straight forward box that doesn’t give much away about the chassis other than a basic representation of its design.


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4 Responses to “Fractal Design Define R2 XL Chassis Review”
  1. Wayne says:

    They could’ve made the top off the case look a lot nicer instead of just punching out holes. Maybe copy what Cooler Master does with a lot of their cases. Those punched out holes really make it look el cheapo.

  2. d6bmg says:

    Awesome chassis. Simple, elegant design without compromising the performance!!

  3. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else experiencing issues
    with your blog. It appears as though some of the
    written text within your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and
    let me know if this is happening to them as well? This may be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this happen before.

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